Have you ever been told to "let it go"? Or live and let live? Or it's in the past so just move on? Or forgive and forget? Or the mother of all advice, get over it? I'll admit that family and friends are trying to help when they give such advice. But it's misguided.
When we make a conscious effort to "let go" of what's bothering us and bringing us pain, we are denying that pain. We are in the midst of resistance.
And what we resist persists.
That doesn't mean wallow. Not at all. It means we need help in sorting things out. How utterly insensitive it is to be told to "get over it" when we're in the throes of despair, when we're so vulnerable. Is it any wonder that so many stay silent when they're in terrible emotional pain.
By now you've probably guessed, I don't subscribe to the "let it go" school of thought. I don't believe we "let go" of anything. I believe it's the other way around.
So how do we let go of the idea of letting go in order to get to healing?
First, we must stop judging ourselves for the way we feel and for the emotions we are experiencing. They're there for a reason.
They're telling us we won't be ignored! Address us or we'll make you more miserable than you thought possible! We'll wreak havoc on every aspect of your life. Your job. Your relationships. Your health. Your ability to function.
Once our emotions have our attention, the next step may be challenging. We must turn away from the people who stymy us. From the people who decide for us. From the people who determine that our path is wrong and we must follow their version of the right path.
Each of us is on a unique path. Remember that.
Then, if we really do want to be out of pain, we must consider a different way to look at what we're experiencing. What we did experience.
As long as we continue with the same thoughts and judgments, we will not bring about he change we so desperately want.
Start by being grateful you are no longer experiencing what happened to bring you pain. Recognize it's your thoughts about what happened, the story you're attaching to that is bringing you pain in the moment.
Then tell yourself another story. Sounds simplistic, right? But it does work. You see, it's the story you tell yourself about what happened to you that brings on the ongoing pain:
- It shouldn't have happened
- If only I'd had better parents
- If that hadn't happened to me I'd be a different/better person
- They ruined my life
- And on the stories go...
- It should have happened because it did happen. That doesn't mean I was deserving of it.
- If I'd had different parents I wouldn't be able to offer to others what I can now offer them. I wouldn't have make so darn sure that I wouldn't do to my kids what was done to me, and so I made a better life for them.
- What happened to me does not determine what kind of person I am. I get to decide the kind of person I'm going to be.
- My life is mine to do with as I choose.
I would love to hear from you. What story do you tell yourself that keeps you in pain? And how can you change that story and turn it into something positive?